Navigation Links
Alzheimer's Foundation of America Announces 2010 College Scholarship Winner

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America today announced the winner and runners-up in its 2010 AFA Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness College Scholarship competition. In their essays, all three high school seniors shared a strong desire to change the way the world thinks about Alzheimer's disease. By chronicling the loss of her father who had early onset Alzheimer's disease, the winner, Katherine Henley of Phoenix, AZ, hopes that others will recognize that the brain disorder can affect people even as young as in their 30s and 40s in addition to older Americans.

New York, NY (PRWEB) April 22, 2010 -- "That disease is only for old people. It wouldn't affect such a young man," Katherine Henley, 18, wrote. "But it did. And it was my dad."
With compassion and raw emotion, Henley of Phoenix, AZ has chronicled the loss of her father to early onset Alzheimer's disease, a rare form of the brain disorder, in an essay written for the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's AFA Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness College Scholarship.    

AFA announced today that Henley is the 2010 winner of the $5,000 college scholarship. First runner-up is Natalie Stadelman of Hudson, OH, and second runner-up is Rebecca Herzberg of Cherry Hill, NJ.

In their essays, the major requirement in the competition, all three high school seniors shared a strong desire to change the way the world thinks about Alzheimer's disease, which currently affects as many as 4.5 million Americans. With advanced age the greatest risk factor for the disease, the incidence is expected to escalate in the coming decades as the nation's population ages.

While Henley illustrated that the disease can also affect individuals even in their 30s and 40s--called early onset or young onset, Stadelman emphasized that individuals with Alzheimer's disease still have their unique passion and energy so long as people make an effort to draw it out, and Herzberg concluded that political leaders need to hear the stories of individuals with the disease in order to change its future course.

Evident of the countless number of teens touched by Alzheimer's disease, nearly 1,300 college-bound students applied for AFA's annual scholarship this year.

"We continue to be amazed by the compassion shared by these young people and their ability to take away life-changing lessons from their experiences of interacting with loved ones and strangers with Alzheimer's disease," said Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and chief executive officer.

Henley's heartfelt essay describes the close bond she shared with her father, Richard, the impact of "watching him slowly become someone else," and his death four years ago at the age of 44.

"He wouldn't call my mom, my siblings or me by our names because he was afraid he would confuse them. He couldn't remember the simplest of things, like how to tie his shoes or whether his watch was facing the right way. 'What's this?' he would ask. 'It's a spoon, Daddy. You eat with it,'" she wrote.

Henley also relayed how their mutual love for animals--her only source of comfort amidst the emotional upheaval wrought by her father's illness--has inspired her career choice.

"Now, I can pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I can continue honoring my dad and do some better things in the world that he wasn't able to do," said Henley, who plans to attend Colorado State College in Fort Collins next fall.

While a significant number of other applicants also wrote about losing their parents to early onset Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for about 10 percent of cases of the brain disorder, most teens recalled how the disease has impacted their grandparents, great-grandparents and other older relatives.

Regardless of the age of the individuals affected by the disease, teens compassionately portrayed how their family life has been turned upside down, how they've been thrust into caregiving roles at a young age, and how much the harsh reality of memory loss hurts, especially when a loved one forgets who they are.

But, amidst the pain, many teens expressed optimism.

For example, after Stadelman produced a DVD of photographs depicting her grandmother's life and its viewing, to her surprise, garnered a reaction from her grandmother, the teen gained a new understanding of the disease.

"In that instant, I discovered that everyone has a resilient force, a core, and no matter what happens, it is always there--we just need to tap into it," she wrote in her essay.

AFA established the annual scholarship so that teens could use the opportunity to reflect on the impact Alzheimer's disease has had on them, their families and their communities. It is one of the many features of AFA's teen division, which is aimed at educating and engaging youth and connecting them with peers whose family members are affected by the disease. Teens are encouraged to express themselves on a bulletin board, seek support from AFA social workers and set up AFA Teens chapters in their community.

According to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and United Hospital Fund, more than one million children nationwide care for sick or disabled parents and grandparents; Alzheimer's disease and related dementias were the most prevalent illnesses.

For more information about AFA Teens and to read the winning scholarship essays, visit

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites 1,400 member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on programs. AFA's services include a toll-free hot line with counseling by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine and National Memory Screening Day. For information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit    

Photos available upon request.

# # #

Read the full story at

Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2010 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Study Shows Cigarette Smoking a Risk Factor for Alzheimer's Disease
2. QuickMedial Praises New Study Linking High Cholesterol Levels to Increased Risk for Developing Alzheimer's Disease or Vascular Dementia
3. Caregivers with Professional HealthCare at Home Now Certified by the Alzheimer's Association
4. New Study Finds Cholesterol-Related Gene Associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment, a Precursor of Alzheimer's Disease
5. Health Care Bill Helps Seniors with Alzheimer's
6. Unique Alzheimer's Program Improves Quality Of Life And Provides Purpose
7. World's First Mobile Application for Alzheimer's Disease Risk Assessment
8. Home Care Businesses Fill Void As Alzheimer's Care Units Decline
9. Sebastian Ferrero Foundation and Shands HealthCare Have Selected Sg2 to Conduct a Needs Assessment for a Gainesville-Based Childrens Hospital
10. Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2.8 Million to Drive Development of Parkinsons Disease Biomarker Pipeline
11. One5 Foundation Launches National Haitian Relief Campaign with TShirtAds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind ... able to be personalized through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the ... solutions currently only offer a one size fits all type program , They ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery ... of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , ... for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice ... States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm ... Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health ... of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards ... at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... Story Highlights: ... the health care industry is causing providers to review ... Deloitte offers a suite of solutions for health care ... cost optimization: labor resource analysis, revenue cycle optimization and ... outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen Matrix") the ... of collagen and mineral based medical devices for ... Bill Messer has joined the company as ... the growing portfolio of oral surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedic ... joins the Collagen Matrix executive team as an ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation , ... Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard Medical ... Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the ... five finalists of Lyme Innovation , the ... 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: